Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hands in worship

"All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with joyful cries." -Psalm 47:1. Clapping of hands was used to worship God in the Old Testament -- and even today by non-Catholic Christians, the "born-again" and the Catholic charismatics. Doing so is fitting as it is biblical -- but the location where we do the clapping is a matter worth examining. The non-Catholic "born-again" Christian communities do hands-clapping during worship at "their" place of worship -- and it is all right! -- while the Catholic charismatics do it even during the conduct of the Holy Mass and in their assemblies within the Catholic churches where the Tabernacle of the Eucharistic Host is enshrined -- let us see if it is all right. The Old Testament is the announcement of the coming of Jesus-Messiah -- thus, prior to His Passion and Death on the Cross. The hands-clapping act as a form of worship to God is proper in the Old Testament because the Old Testament is prior to Jesus' Passion and Death on the Cross.

The praying hands are opposite to clapping hands.
Why is it appropriate, then, to clap hands in worship when the non-Catholic "born-again" Christians do it? Because they clap their hands at "their" place of worship and "their" place of worship is without the Tabernacle that enshrines the Eucharistic Host (the Real Presence of Jesus Christ that bore the marks of His Passion and Death on the Cross) that only the Catholic Church has been entrusted with by Jesus Christ Himself (remember transubstantiation: only Catholic priests can turn Bread and Wine into the Real Body and Blood of Jesus Christ). Therefore, the Catholics must not clap their hands before, during and after the Holy Mass is officiated within the Catholic churches simply because the Holy Mass is a remembrance of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross and the Tabernacle that encloses the Eucharistic Host is always enshrined in the center of the Altars in all the Catholic churches of the world.

The praying hands of the Madonna.
What is rejoicing in front of a suffering man? Such is like a mockery to him. The same is true with the Lord when we clap our hands in front of His Eucharistic Presence and the Holy Eucharist. In Lamentations 2:15, clapping is not only used to worship God in the Old Testament but also to ridicule, to deride or to mock. Holy Mass is Holy Mass, it must be conducted with utmost solemnity, reverence and love -- as well as the Eucharistic Presence in the Tabernacle. Catholic charismatic communities must, therefore, withhold the practice of clapping every Holy Mass and hold charismatic activities outside the Catholic churches where we are free to clap our hands to worship God. Lastly, let me quote Ezekiel 21:22 where it is written, "Then I, too, shall clap my hands and spend my fury. I, the Lord, have spoken."

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